Protect Your Privacy: Check Those Facebook Apps

Although we may feel that we are on top of our Facebook privacy settings, there are a few areas that we rarely bother to review. One of those areas concerns all the third-party games and other apps that we have picked up – sometimes unwittingly – during our time as a Facebook member.

In many cases, we have given these apps permission to access our most personal data, whether or not we are still using the app or even know that it’s there. Depending on our friends’ privacy settings, those apps might also be “scraping” their personal data, resulting in spam, unwanted advertising, and even phishing attacks.

But first, how do we even find out which apps we have on our Facebook account? The best place to start is with our Privacy Settings, where we can also make the necessary adjustments.

  • Click on the arrow in the top right-hand corner of your home page, and then click on Settings.
  • Scroll down the left-hand side of the General Account Settings page and click on Apps.
  • The first item on this page will be a summary of all the Apps you use. These are all the apps that you have allowed to interact with your Facebook account. By clicking on the Edit button to the right of each app, you can see exactly what the app is allowed to do. Many Facebook users will be surprised to see the number of apps that they have acquired over the years, and the amount of personal information that each app is allowed to collect.
  • If you are no longer using the app, or you are unhappy with what the app can access, then you can click on the ‘x’ to the right of the app to remove the app completely. As Facebook will tell you in a new window, removing the app from Facebook      will only prevent the app from collecting additional data in the future. The app will still have the data it has already collected.

apps-others-use

The Apps page also allows you to control how much of your information is accessible through the activities of your friends. If you click the Edit button to the right of Apps others use, you will get a window with a 17 different information categories, including everything from your photos and videos to your relationships and religious and political views. (See panel above.) Again, we recommend that only your basic information is made available to these third-party apps and web sites.

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